Two teams with very different winning streaks — the Giants at 3, and the Braves at 7 — meet up in Hotlanta in what’s a battle between two teams with very similar post-season aspirations, and only a one game apart in the loss column. All winning streaks have to come to an end sometime, right? So why not force them to start a brand new one after they leave Georgia? Problem is obviously, this team is much better than the Houston squad that got swept by the Giants. Leaving 26 men on base in the last two games of the series like the Giants did will not likely warrant positive results in the Win column should that continue on this roadtrip.
Tuesday, July 17th: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens
One sentence summary: Two guys with a tERA over 5 means this game could have both fanbases putting their hands to their heads for five to six innings at the very most.
Wednesday, July 18th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Mike Minor
One sentence summary: 19 HRA for Mike Minor and the count for those HR and the pitches they were hit on: fastball (10), changeup (5), slider (3), and the curveball (1).
Thursday, July 19th: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Tim Hudson
One sentence summary: Tim Hudson really can give you a bunch of different looks and the sinkerballer should be the biggest challenge of a starting pitcher the Giants see in the Southeast.
A pretty decent team the Braves are, as they’ve shown this season with four guys (assuming qualified PA) with over a .350 wOBA (Giants have three), but you may hear the broadcast booth talk about three of them have batting averages over .300, which is also impressive. Chipper (.383 wOBA), Martin Prado (.363), Jason Heyward (.363), and Michael Bourn (.359) are the wOBA guys, and the Braves also have four guys with double digit HRs. Heyward actually leads all with 14, McCann has 13, and Uggla along with Freeman both have 12. Three — Bourn (25), JHey (12), and Prado (11) — have double digit steals. So a team that hits, can hit for power, and can run. Any questions as to why they’re in the hunt?
Sure, the Giants have their own speed in Pagan (16), Blanco (15), and Melky (10), and two different guys from Melky (.387 wOBA) have high wOBA like the Braves gang in Pablo (.367), and Buster (.364), but still only have Buster (11) as a representative from the double digit big bomb club. A lot of talk has also come about the Giants hitting with RISP, and it gets your attention because they’re one of the worst in the league. The most AB with RISP coming into tonight’s games at 805 AB for the Giants, yet they have the 2nd lowest batting average (.225, Padres lowest at .209), the lowest OBP (.302), the 2nd lowest SLG% (.328, Padres lowest at .300), the 2nd lowest BABIP (.260, Yankees the lowest at .241) and the 2nd lowest wOBA (.270, Padres at .268). Leaves you to wonder how many close games can be avoided if the RISP will come in at a higher rate this second half of the season.
I’m not going to predict better RISP batting, although you’d think it should happen since it’s been so bad so far. The Giants can win this series, but will they let the heat get to them like they let it last time?
Tuesday: Giants win (Jurrjens gets hit harder than Zito)
Wednesday: Giants win (Hit Mike Minor hard)
Thursday: Braves win (RISP problems)